This year we decided to watch all the feature films in competition at Cinemalaya: ten in the New Breed section (for newish directors) and five in the Directors’ Showcase.
The films are also being screened at Greenbelt, ATC and Trinoma, but we decided to get the complete experience and watch them at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. It was gratifying to see the crowds turn up this weekend despite the rains, and stay on despite the heat and humidity inside the building (Was the airconditioning on?).
Whenever we needed breathing space we hung out by the non-operational fountain in front or at the Chicken Rice Shop across the street. (We’d never eaten there before, it’s pretty good.) We spotted this bird–is it a heron?–doing yoga on top of one of the water jets. It ignored the crowds completely.
Our patron for Cinemalaya 2013 is Jeffrey Jeturian, who anointed us his representative for the sacred festival pass which allows miraculous entry to all the CCP screenings. Thank you! Jeffrey’s highly-anticipated film Ekstra starring Vilma Santos is part of the Directors’ Showcase.
On Saturday we watched Purok 7, written and directed by Carlo Obispo, and Porno, directed by Adolf Alix from a screenplay by Ralston Jover.
Purok 7 is a very assured first feature about the joys and sorrows of childhood. It is sweet but not sappy, giddy (kilig) but never cloying, moving but not maudlin. Don’t miss it.
Angel Aquino with our extremely opinionated friends (L-R) Chus, Ricky and Leo. Angel stars in Porno as a transgender individual. Point of discussion: What if an actual transgender like B.B. Gandanghari had been cast in the role?
A movie that calls itself Porno is calculated to provoke. We can’t say we liked it, but something kept us in our seats till the very end. And then we spent the next two hours trying to figure out what we just saw. To us this is a good thing. Our full reviews will appear at InterAksyon.
While waiting for the Ekstra gala we spotted filmmakers Pepe Diokno and Ian Wang, who is visiting from China. We feel like Pepe’s kvetching aunt because every time we see Pepe the first thing that comes out of our mouth is, “Where is your second movie?”
We were seated near filmmaker Marlon Rivera, who has a highly challenging role in Ekstra: one that puts him in a select group with Etang Discher and Zeny Zabala. Marlon is now a size negative-2 after a bout of dengue. (That is not an endorsement of dengue, okay?)
Everybody loves Ate Vi, and she requites this love. Ekstra could be viewed as her tribute to all the bit players, walk-ons and crowd extras she’s worked with over the decades—the people who make a movie seem real but never even make it to the credits. In his introduction Jeffrey Jeturian mentioned that in 1983 he got his first job in the movies, as production assistant on Baby Tsina starring Vilma Santos. He knew that he wanted to be a director, and that he wanted to work with Ate Vi. Thirty years later, mission accomplished.
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We did the English subtitles for an early draft of Ekstra. The version screening at Cinemalaya does not use our translation, but we’re still mentioned in the credits.
For translation geeks, here’s how we rendered an early exchange between Loida (Vilma Santos) and her friend. (Yes, we’re just finicky about grammar.)
– It’s exam week. I need to work double-time.
– I don’t understand why you don’t accept your husband’s offer.
– Accept your ex-husband’s offer to pay for Joyce’s tuition.
– I managed to put her through school since the 3rd grade. Now that she’s
about to graduate graduating, I’m not about to ask him for help.
Next he’ll be bragging that he put her through college. Excuse me.
– So that’s you, huh. Not just a great extra but a great mother.
Between the maid and Belinda (Marian Rivera)
– Ma’am, wait! Use your umbrella. If your skin darkens your mother will be angry.
– It’s okay, Nanny, I brought a bandana.
And Cherie Gil’s speech to her abductee.
– Well, well, look who’s here. Who would’ve thought we’d meet here? Right at the spot where you and my husband frequently betrayed me! Are you surprised? Did you think you could fool me?